Rothko, Reverential and Otherworldly, in Houston

Rothko Chapel interior and new skylight (© Elizabeth Felicella. Courtesy Rothko Chapel)
The painter’s final statement — his darkest paintings — under new light

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he Rothko Chapel in Houston opened 50 years ago, on the weekend of February 26, 1971. Lots of events are planned throughout the year to celebrate and contextualize it, and deservedly so. The tiny building is not decorated by Mark Rothko’s last work, since “decorated” suggests that the art augments the chapel. Rather, the building is a mere stage for a suite of religious paintings, though “religious” isn’t precise, either. You won’t find angels on the walls, or divinities of any kind, and don’t go there to get answers. Rather, the paintings are intensely spiritual. “Intense” and “spiritual” seem right.

(© Elizabeth Felicella. Courtesy Rothko Chapel)

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